Wyden, Merkley Urge Feds to Make Farmers and Agricultural Businesses Eligible for COVID-19 Economic Injury Grants

Wyden, Merkley Urge Feds to Make Farmers and Agricultural Businesses Eligible for COVID-19 Economic Injury Grants

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley today urged the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) to make farmers and agricultural businesses in Oregon and nationwide eligible for economic injury grants included in the latest COVID-19 emergency relief package.

Wyden and Merkley wrote in their letter to SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza that expanding the Emergency Economic Injury Grant Program (EIDL) included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is a must for farmers and agricultural businesses to survive the economic fallout from the coronavirus public health crisis.

“The Small Business Administration made farmers and agricultural businesses ineligible for this program and we would like to know the reasoning behind this decision and any statutory limitations on aiding farmers,” Wyden and Merkley wrote. “Farmers need our help to make it through this pandemic while continuing to feed American families and fuel our economy, both of which are essential to our short and long-term survival.

“The Small Business Administration’s swift action on this issue will provide much needed stability to our nation’s family farms, which are critical to our country and our communities,” the senators wrote.

A web version of this release is here.

Text of the letter is below.

The Honorable Jovita Carranza 

Administrator 

Small Business Administration 

409 3rd St SW 

Washington, DC 20416

 

Dear Administrator Carranza:

We write to urge the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) to make farmers and agricultural businesses eligible for the Emergency Economic Injury Grant program that was included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES; P.L. 116-136).

The United States is dealing with an unprecedented crisis with COVID-19 and it is clearly taking a toll on the entire economy, including our nation’s farmers. The CARES Act provides a broad range of assistance to help small businesses who are struggling through this pandemic. The Emergency Economic Injury Grant Program (EIDL) is among the provisions that expands the eligibility criteria in the underlying economic injury disaster loan program. Expanding the criteria shows that the coronavirus is affecting entities that may not traditionally be considered small businesses.

The Small Business Administration made farmers and agricultural businesses ineligible for this program and we would like to know the reasoning behind this decision and any statutory limitations on aiding farmers. Farmers need our help to make it through this pandemic while continuing to feed American families and fuel our economy, both of which are essential to our short and long-term survival.

I appreciate the work that the SBA has done during this trying time and thank you for your attention to this critical matter. The Small Business Administration’s swift action on this issue will provide much needed stability to our nation’s family farms, which are critical to our country and our communities.

                     Sincerely,